Derek Muaava will miss his senior season after undergoing knee surgery today, but the star running back and linebacker from Independence is looking toward the future after making an oral commitment to play at San Jose State Saturday night before the game with Utah.
Muaava was inconsolable after suffering slight tears of his ACL and MCL during a full contact camp in August. Even after consulting with a doctor who recommended surgery, Muaava was adamant about playing in the 76ers opener against rival Piedmont Hills.
“I can’t explain how I felt, I had worked so hard getting ready for the season and for that to happen _ it was indescribable,” Muaava said. “I was worried that the colleges would stop recruiting me, and I wanted to get out there and play.”
Muaava was named the most valuable junior in the Blossom Valley Athletic League’s Santa Teresa Division last season after rushing for 1,127 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. On defense he had eight sacks while averaging 10.1 tackles per game.
A week before the 76ers season finale, Muaava was showering at home when he heard his younger brother T.J. calling for help. T.J. was being beaten by two men and Derek jumped into the skirmish _ suffering a stab wound to his shoulder. As the assailants fled, one fired shots from a handgun hitting Derek in the chest with the bullet exiting from his left biceps.
He recovered from the injury quickly and played basketball and was a star on the track and field team in the spring.
“We are so proud of Derek, he did everything an athlete is supposed to do,” said Independence Coach Norman Brown, who was a standout linebacker at San Jose State in the late 80s. “He overcame so much adversity, it was great to see him Saturday with his family. It’s a great ending to his high school career and a new beginning. I’m biased of course, but San Jose State is getting a great player and we’re all excited that he’s staying home so we can get a chance to see him play.”
The 6-foot-1, 215 pound Muaava also had an offer from Utah before the injury.
“I was so excited when I heard that San Jose State still wanted me to play there,” Muaava said. “It’s definitely frustrating to miss my senior year, but now I have to worry about the bigger picture and get ready to play college ball.”